The Art of Prophesying by William Perkins

ArtOfProphesyingBibliography

William Perkins. The Art of Prophesying. Edinburgh, Scotland: Banner of Truth, printing 1996. 191 pp. $8.00.

Category

Expositional

Summary

The Art of Prophesying is an outstanding book for young preachers to peruse when introduced to the subject of preaching. This book, first published in 1607, offers clarity to being God’s megaphone to God’s people. As the author, William Perkins, puts it, “Thus every prophet’s task is to speak partly as the voice of God (in preaching), and partly as the voice of the people (in praying).”

Therefore, this book does not just examine style. It looks first and foremost at what the preacher does with Scripture. This means that Perkins first tells us what Scripture is, how the preacher should study it, and then finally how we might take this study and preach it to the ears of our congregation. Quite honestly, this is not just an antiquarian homiletics book, it is also a bible study methods book as well.

Furthermore, the final chapter on prayer comes as an unexpected surprise. This chapter delineates the pastor’s role – not in any way that usurps Christ’s role — as mediator for the people. Just as the pastor functions as the voice of God to his people, the pastor functions as the voice of the people calling upon God.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

The chapter on “Use and Application” is essential reading from this book. Here Perkins contrasts law and gospel, and how it is essential to preach both to congregations. “The law exposes the disease of sin…the gospel not only teaches us what is to be done, it also has the power of the Holy Spirit Joined to it…The law is, therefore, first in the order of teaching; then comes the gospel.

Do you do this in your preaching? If not, you must. Until people come to sorrow over sin, they will see no need for the gospel you preach to them. In order to arouse sorrow, according to Perkins, you must “use some choice section of the law.” If you haven’t picked up on it yet, you’re seeing glimpses of Bryan Chapell’s “fallen condition focus.” This chapter also provides a helpful rundown of the categories of hearers. This helps preachers consider their audience and preach with that audience in mind.

But the “Use and Application” chapter is not by far all that is helpful about The Art of Prophesying. The chapter on “Varieties of Application” stimulates thought on the manner in which preachers indoctrinate, correct, rebuke, and instruct his congregation, and “The Use of the Memory” chapter is inestimably practical.

Rating

Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By

Recommendation

If you haven’t read the Puritans on proclaiming God’s Word, this is where to start. The Art of Prophesying enflames preachers with a burning passion to preach the Word.

View-Worthy: 4.23.14

Headliner

Albert Mohler. God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge.

Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.

Deal of the Day

A Treatise On Earthly-Mindedness by Jeremiah Burroughs $1.99


Book Review

James N Anderson. What’s Your Worldview. Reviewed by David Steele.

Links

Eric Geiger. Three Small Ways to Initiate Roving Leadership.

Instead of leading and executing everything, wise and biblically motivated leaders equip others to lead and execute. Here are three small ways to elevate current leaders on your team and let them run.

Dan Darling. A Subtle but Powerful Way to Love Your Spouse.

There are all sorts of big and small ways to show love to your spouse. One of the easiest, but powerful ways to demonstrate this is to talk about them positively in public.

Jodi Ware. What if I’m Frustrated with My Husband. (CBMW)

Recently I was asked how to encourage a wife who is frustrated with the way her husband leads her. This is a situation that occurs regularly and, when it does, I seek to encourage them in several ways.

Edify

Psalm 85:9 “Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.”

“If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.” John Bunyan

Awake from Gospel Slumber

Isaiah 26:19 “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.”

There are pivotal points of the day when my soul wakes from gospel slumber. One of those moments happened just before I started this post. I bowed my head and prayed, “Lord, how will you use me for your gospel and your purpose today.”

Up to that moment, I went through the motions of a new day. I awoke from physical sleep, showered, and readied for the day. I got my sons dump truck off a high shelf for him. I fed my 10 month daughter a bottle while my wife showered and got a therapeutic start to her long day ahead. With each of those activities, I responded as an active listener to other’s needs.

I also read my Bible and my devotional. I got in my vehicle and drove to the coffee shop where I study, write, and meet people. As I traveled I listened to D A Carson, Jesus the Son of God. But all the while, I remained in gospel slumber. I listened but did not respond.

My soul had not sung to God yet. I had not communed with him. For whatever reason, I did not even whisper a word to him. I whispered goodbye to each member of my family and kissed them farewell as I started my day. Yet, though I listened to God this morning, I had not actively responded yet. I did not whisper back to him in gratitude or affection.

Prayer is a gift that God gives us to awaken our soul to him. It is a cry of helplessness. I can’t do this day without you. I walk by faith, not by sight. I lean upon you for help and hope. Awaken me to you, your ways, and your will. Through out the Psalms, psalmists pray to God, crying to him, and requesting his peace. They would not do so, unless he offers peace. Psalm 85:8 says, “Le me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints, but let them not turn back to folly.” He gives peace.

The beauty of waking from Gospel slumber is that when we whisper, “Hello” to God he kisses us with peace. “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other” (Psalm 85:10).

Prayer is a glimpse to what will be. A day will come when a trump will sound. Dead bodies will wake. And all those in slumber will sing for joy. When we pray, we practice that song of joy. We sing looking forward to that future song.

The Christian in Complete Armour: Reflection One

The Christian in Complete Armour is sectioned in two parts. And I’ve already read part one. Woohoo! Well, Puritans sectioned their books different than we do today. Part one took up forty-four pages. Part two is the greater body of the writing and takes up nearly 1200 more pages.

Each week following this one, we will reflect on one of the twelve directions given in part two of this tour de force on spiritual warfare. We will likely divide direction eleven into two weeks since it covers over 250 pages.

Obviously, these will be broadly sweeping reflections. I’m not trying to review this fine work, nor am I trying to elaborate on it. I am merely sharing how I am responding to this work. To do so, I will briefly summarize each section and share how it struck me.

You’re invited to read along in this work and share as well. You can find the Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall at Banner of Truth’s website.

Summary

Part one is an exposition of the following verse:

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

William Gurnall refers to this exposition as “a sweet and powerful encouragement to the war.” We must war both against our sin, our enemy, and the world in which he wreaks havoc. The world around us looks at us as ridiculous. We are seen as fools. It requires strength and courage to face it without quivering in fear or caving convictions. Furthermore, Christians face opposition from false teachers. In the midst of this, a Christian may not always experience God’s presence. He or she will experience withdrawings from God. Nonetheless, he or she must carry on to the end of life.

Strength and courage to face all these prospects is not derived within but without. It is derived from the Lord. Gurnall surmises, “[In] the army of saints, the strength of every saint, yea, of the whole hosts of saints, lies in the Lord of hosts” (18). God uses the Holy Spirit through prayer and his very Word as vehicles to strengthen his own. This presses us into full dependence upon God as weak creatures. He conquers our hearts and invigorates us towards war. He does this because he dearly loves us and seeks our greater happiness.

God is more than mighty enough to accomplish this, and we should expect to be confident in this. This confidence comes through faith. We must trust his almightiness. This frees us from being dependent upon our strength. As Gurnall says, “For that is the apostle’s drift, as to beat us off from leaning on our own strength” (25). This is our aim when we face temptation: trust the almightiness of God.

Gurnall expounds on God’s attribute of almightiness. His almightiness conveys how he is enough to defend and destroy our enemies. And it is also ours. It is there for our protection. “God himself enfolds him in the arm of his everlasting strength” (28). Because he loves us he empowers us with his strength. His Son was given to gain us, thus his power will keep us. Our union with Christ invokes God’s love and becomes a point of strengthening. We will not be forgotten.

Yet, God’s might as a defense against Satan and sin is dependent upon repentance. Christless people can’t have Christ’s power. But for those that know Christ, sin shall not have power over the might of God. “One almighty is more than many mighties” (35).

One objection is addressed. What if a sincere Christian is not being strengthened? To which Gurnall responds that perhaps the Christian is not eager in prayer, is weak in faith, is great in pride, or is not grateful for the little bit of strengthening God has graced that Christian. What most stands out is Gurnall’s comment that it is risky to reproach God foolishly. He is more than able, the question is whether he has for some unforeseen reason willingly withdrawn his grace, or perhaps the time of strength will yet come.

Reflection

Part One left me longing to learn more of God’s purpose and way in strengthening and armoring his people against Satan’s wiles and sin’s beckon.  I had not tied God’s attribute of almightiness to my union with Christ and my access to that power. Though I’ve seen the practical implications and have been encouraged much in the past that God’s “power [is] at work within us…” (Eph. 3:20), I had not made this connection to his attribute, which empowers.

I’m certain that I devote too much of my life to my own techniques or worldly methods to deflect the enemies varied arrows. Whether I have been told to “bounce my eyes” or “to use envelopes” for spending, I think too often I have not depended on God and accessed His strength through prayer and the Word. Then when I experience failure, I get bogged into philosophies such as “well that’s just the way it is for sinners like me.” But no! God is more than able to rescue me and gird me for war against temptation and spiritual forces.

I’m soundly certain that the pivotal section in part one for me was the exposition that connects God’s love and desire for us to his desire to empower us with his strength and might. Any normal human has at one point or another doubted their worthiness of God’s love or questioned, based on circumstances, whether God loves them at all. This exposes chinks in the Christian’s armor to Satan’s arrows. The assurance of God’s love presses upon the heart hope and assurance of being clothed in his might. And so we put on Christ, for he is our armor against the present darkness that attacks.

These posts are made possible by my friends at BannerofTruth.org. You’ll find the Christian in Complete Armour and other classic Puritan works that have withstood the test of time at his wonderful website.

View-Worthy: 4.22.14

Headliner

Ryan Brymer. Find ‘Rivers in the Wasteland’ Interview with NEEDTOBREATHE.

FaithVillage contributor Ryan Brymer recently had the chance to interview Bo Reinhart of the band NEEDTOBREATHE. The band’s new record, Rivers in the Wasteland, is already generating plenty of buzz and Ryan asked Bo about the band’s spirituality, music and much more.

Deal of the Day

Ten Who Changed the World by Daniel Akin $2.99

Book Review

Jared Wilson. The Storytelling God. Reviewed by Chris Hennessey.

Links

Gloria Furman. Why Motherhood is Only for the Faint of Heart.

Grace can turn burnout into a blessing.

Barnabas Piper. Writers, Stop Writing About Writing.

This might be hypocritical. It’s likely a bit odd and possibly (probably) pretentious. Some might refer to it as Meta. I prefer to think of it as Inception-like. As a writer, I have some things to write about writers writing about writing.

Erik Raymond. Are We Expecting Too Much or Too Little from the Church.

As a pastor I meet a lot of people who are looking for a church. One of the most helpful questions I can ask is, “What are you looking for in a church?” In one sense I hate this question because of the way it can reinforce our American consumer mindset. At the same time it gets right to the point. They are looking for something.

Edify

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

“[Every] exploit your faith does against sin and Satan causes a shout in heaven.” William Gurnall

D A Carson on the Cross and Christian Ministry

TheCrossandChristianMinistryIn the preface to D A Carson’s classic 5 chapter exposition of 1 Corinthians, The Cross and Christian Ministry, Professor Carson highlights these central points regarding the cross of Jesus Christ.

[The] cross stands as the test and the standard of all vital Christian ministry. The cross not only establishes what we are to preach, but how we are to preach. It prescribes what Christian leaders must be and how Christians must view Christian leaders. It tells us how to serve and draws us onward in discipleship until we understand what it means to be world Christians…

It is now commonplace to confess that evangelicalism is fragmenting. To the extent that this is true, it is utterly imperative that we self-consciously focus on what is central — on the gospel of Jesus christ. That means we must resolve “to know nothing … except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2), in exactly the same way that Paul made that resolution. This will shape our vision of ministry as much as it will shape our grasp of the centrality of the gospel.

Truth Matters by Kostenberger, Bock, and Chatraw

The Truth Matters Pastor’s Library post first appeared at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web blog.

Bibliography
TruthMattersAndreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock, and Josh Chatraw. Truth Matters. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H, 2014. 211 pp. $12.99.

Category

Church and Ministry

Summary

Skeptics, like Bart Ehrman, callously throw objections at Christians on a day-to-day basis. But let’s be honest, our faith is not always under fire from without. Sometimes the questions and doubts come from within. And whether you are a pastor, barber, housewife, or teen each of us face objections, from within or without, at one time or another. Enter Truth Matters, a book that readies Christians to face today’s most commonly propagated objections to the Christian faith.

Kostenberger, Bock and Chatraw deftly field six common objections Christians face: Does God exist and care? How’d we get our Bible? Is the Bible filled with mistakes? Can I trust the copy of copies of the Bible? Who decided the stuff Christians believe? Is the resurrection true?

Each contributor offers his own touch to this resource. Kostenberger and Bock bring scholastic clout. Bock, with his knack for cultural engagement, is in tune to the spirit of the age. And Chatraw’s pastoral mindedness anchors this resource for accessibility.

When I came across Truth Matters, I immediately asked myself, “What does this resource offer that Lee Strobel, Hank Hannegraaff, Josh McDowell, Ravi Zacharias, or others have not?”

First, this resource is not an exhaustive apologetic. It focuses on key concerns of bibliology, canonicity, and the historicity of Jesus’s person and work. All of these are defenses for Christianity’s historiography. This counters a specialized area of skepticism, one that is popularized and advanced by Bart Ehrman, making this a current and timely read.

Second, Truth Matters introduces us to the skeptics, their works, arguments, and approach. Thus, readers will be prepared and cushioned for what’s coming and not just anchored with answers, though anchored they will be. It’s the difference between an airbag and a seatbelt.

Finally, this resource is manageable. It trims the fat, so you don’t have to read thousands of pages from skeptics, nor need you wade through a thousand pages of apologetic material.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Pastors will want to read Truth Matters and keep it close. It is a quick reference guide for that time just before a meeting with a teen or adult struggling with an objection addressed in this book.

More than that, pastors will want to pass Truth Matters on to others. It makes a great gift for seniors and the discussion questions make it useful for Sunday school or small group. The chapters are brief, which means a study group could read together and discuss in one sitting.

Rating

Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By

Recommendation

Truth Matters is what you need to shield the crud that skeptics fling. Get Truth Matters, stay clean, and remain confident in the One who keeps you.

View-Worthy: 4.21.14

Headliner

Valerie Dunham. Zac Efron, Shirtless Men, and Sexism. (Christ & Pop Culture)

Picture this: You’re watching the MTV Movie Awards and it’s finally time for the “best shirtless performance” category. The nominees are read off, the envelope opened, and the winner announced. Imagine Jennifer Anniston (2014’s only female nominee) climbing the stage to awkwardly accept the award, not sure how to respond to the many cat-calls and shouts of “Take it off!” Just when you think it can’t get more awkward, one of the award presenters lends a helping hand by ripping off the winner’s shirt. Appalling, right? Entirely inexcusable.

Now imagine the same scenario, but take out Jennifer Anniston and sub in Zac Efron. That’s what happened at Sunday night’s award show. Is it still appalling?

Deal of the Day

A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D A Carson $2.99

Book Review

Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson. Raised? Reviewed by Aaron Armstrong.

Links

Thom Rainer. Ten Reasons Some Pastors Don’t Desire to Go to an Established Church.

In an earlier article this week, I shared several trends in the employment of pastors. There was some discussion and interest in my comment about established churches having greater difficulty finding pastors who meet their criteria. In this post, I want to open that discussion a bit more.

Please hear me well. I have a heart for the established church. Indeed, I see one of God’s callings in my life to have some influence in the revitalization of established churches. But we can’t begin to address issues until we have honest and transparent discussions. In that light, I offer today some of the reasons pastors have shared with me, explicitly or implicitly, why they don’t see God calling them to established churches.

Bethany Jenkins. Seeking True Beauty as a Spokesmodel. (TGC)

The weekly TGCvocations column asks practitioners about their jobs and how they integrate their faith and work. Interviews are conducted and condensed by Bethany L. Jenkins, director of TGC’s Every Square Inch.

Trinity Laurel is a fashion model in Los Angeles. She has worked for Ralph Lauren, Koral Los Angeles, Kimberly Ovitz, and appeared in Beachbody Exercise DVDs and on QVC with supermodel personal trainer Leandro Carvalho. She also has represented brands like Bentley Motors, Nike, Bloomberg, Herbal Essences, AirBerlin, Google, and Time Warner Cable in North America and has traveled to England, Jamaica, Italy, and the Middle East for work and humanitarian projects.

Rob Schwarzwalder. Why Younger Evangelicals Are Leaving the Church.

Many young people are leaving Evangelical churches. Statistics vary, but there is general consensus that large numbers of post-high school age Evangelical youth shed the faith of their fathers and mothers upon beginning their college years.

Edify

Acts 10:43 “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Martin Luther “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”

On Being Jesus Juked and the Double Juke

Last night I learned about the Jesus Juke. How it had escaped my attention for so long is beyond me. If you’re not familiar with the Jesus Juke, here is a brief description of how Jon Acuff defines the Jesus Juke:

I call it the “Jesus Juke.”

Like a football player juking you at the last second and going a different direction, the Jesus Juke is when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy (Jon Acuff. The Jesus Juke. Posted 11/16/2010 at www.StuffChristiansLike.net).

Jon goes on to describe what results from a Jesus Juke. The Jesus Juke generates shame, awkwardness, and is ultimately unproductive for gospel work.

Jesus Juke Culprit

How did I learn about the Jesus Juke? I became a Jesus Juke culprit, and I got rightly called out. I’m thankful for being called out. I learned something new, and I am better for it. God grew me through the experience, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m still learning social cues. Sometimes I don’t pay close attention to the context. And in this case I got bit. If I had carefully read the Twitter conversation, I would have seen that everyone else took the initial Tweet and ran in a comical direction. I callously brought an air of pretentious hyper-spirituality to the conversation and killed it. What a fail!

Too Serious or Too Awkward

Here’s something else I learned. I am a bit of a Winston. Winston is a character from the New Girl. In season 2, episode 4 entitled “Neighbors” we discover that Winston is not any good at pranks. He does one of two things. He either under-pranks, going too small, or over pranks, going way too big. When Nick decides to prank Schmidt, their roommate Winston suggests putting shavings next to Schmidt’s car, which Nick just calls littering. Then Winston suggests putting acid on his face — way too big!

Well, that’s me, but socially. I am either too serious or too awkward. I struggle with finding that middle ground. That’s good to recognize, because now I know I need to go somewhere from here.

What About the Double Juke

As a Jesus Juke culprit, I also learned something else. I got called out and being called out made me think about the self-defeating nature of calling out jukers. When someone points out that you juked them, they in themselves are a Jesus Juke. The culprit is in turn shamed, feels awkward, and is discouraged.

When I got called out, I at first favorited it. Why? Because I had no idea what a Jesus Juke was, I just took it as a compliment. But then I did my research. I immediately felt contrition. Within the hour I deleted my Tweet and another that followed.

What Should the Juked Do

Here’s a suggestion. One that I’m taking for myself. If you get juked, and inevitably you will, I suggest privately letting the person know that they juked you. Give ‘em a chance to right the Jesus Juke. In social media, one can delete something. In life, one can retract what is said. Help people out, especially those who just don’t know better or are unaware. Give them the benefit of the doubt. I know I will.

I really respect the guy who called me out. I think he’s brilliant, sharp, and godly. I’m super grateful that he called me out. If he hadn’t, I would continue on in my juking ways. So thanks to all those who instruct. Thanks for helping us along our way.

My friend Derek Rishmawy tweeted this the same day I became a Jesus Juke culprit, and I’m glad it is true.

Yep. I am! Have a Good Friday. I am! I’m grateful for the goodness God extended through the stretched arms of Christ. I’m looking forward to having those arms embrace me one day.

Running Through Life

This morning, as I readied to work out, my son watched me dress in my work out gear. He mysteriously disappeared and reappeared a few minutes later, holding his tennis shoes and dressed in athletic shorts and a tee.

“Daddy, I’m ready to go. Let’s go run.”

He’s short of three years old and wouldn’t last a minute on a treadmill, nor would watching me on one for 25 minutes entertain him. I responded with a gentle, “No buddy. Not today. Daddy’s going to go on his own run. The equipment is big and dangerous. Too big for you. And you’ll be bored watching me.”

Asher didn’t seem shaken. He was cool about the whole thing. Yeah, he was a little disappointed, but I could tell he accepted the circumstances. As I left, I thought to myself, “I really hate telling him ‘No.’” There are the normal reasons for saying “No”, reasons that protect, train, and instruct. The hard times to say “No” are the relational times that would be so much fun to enjoy together.

I tell myself often, “Don’t try to accomplish too much with him. Don’t expect to get a lot done. Just enjoy being with him. Spend quality time with this little man. He’s yours to steward. God gave him as a gift so that he might carry on your legacy.”

It’s Hard to Imagine

It’s hard to imagine life without Asher. He’s funny, smart, clever, curious, busy, and courageous. He’s everything I was as a child, and he’s the uninhibited version of everything I still want to be. If the Lord took him home, I’d be sad…very sad.

Why am I thinking about this right now? Partly it is because God keeps putting death’s inevitability in my path. It started a couple weeks ago when our community group studied Galatians 3:10-14. We discussed the result of the curse: sin leading to death; we celebrated the freedom from this captivity that Christ offers.

Then I read this thoughtful post from Nancy Guthrie this week, “Please Don’t Make My Funeral About Me.” Here’s an excerpt:

When I die, you won’t have to wonder what I would have wanted. You’ll know. You’ll know that nothing would make me happier than for my funeral to be all about Christ instead of all about me. Please make it all about his righteous life and not my feeble efforts at good works. Make it about his coming to defeat death and not my courage (or lack thereof) in the face of death. Make it about his emergence from the grave with the keys to death and the grave, which changes everything about putting my body into a grave.

That’s it! That’s absolutely the attitude in which we approach death. But, how aware are we? Are we weary of death’s loom? It appears only to be so in those deafening reminders wrought in loss. That’s when Ecclesiastes 7:2 becomes real, ”It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.”

More and More Reminders

Have you realized that it has been over a year since the tragic loss of Matthew Warren, the son of Rick Warren? Pastors are normally prepared to walk through the valley of death with others. But walking through it themselves must be excruciatingly painful, especially when it is with their own son. As Theodin King of Rohan in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers said, “No parent should have to bury their child.” Still, some do and will.

I had yet another reminder this morning. I stirred from my bed at 6:30am and glanced at my phone. There was a solitary text notification, “Scott’s dad passed away last night.” It was sent by my best friend, and it concerned the father of one of our other close friends from high school.

At a ten year high school reunion there is always that awkward discussion of who didn’t make it. I’m not talking about those who didn’t want to travel or those who think reunions are for schmucks. I’m talking about those who are held back by the curtain of death that stands between we, the living, and them, the deceased.

But it’s different when the first of our parents pass away. It’s sobering realizing that it’s only a matter of time before it could be my father or mother in a casket. And that saddens me.

I’m reminded of N D Willson from Death by Living:

My wife was laughing. She is laughing. She has not stopped. We ran from the darting sunlit rains and the lightning and the night.

We haven’t stopped running but we are getting slower. We have little people running with us now. We have passed others. Our own people will pass us. They will grow and meet others who are young and strong and they will feel as if they are part of the very beginning of life.

We may fall on our knees or into a final sleep, but we will see the inside of that storm. We will see the other side of that storm, where there is no death from living.

The young will mark the sand with a stone and gather round to scatter words on the wind and ponder the speed of time, of life, of grace.

I do it now.

And I Do It Now Too

If I’m honest, my running through life is a shallow attempt to evade death. I exercise as a therapeutic method to manage my fear of death’s loom.

Life is fleeting; time expires. But grace continues on. Grace wroughts grace — the grace God bestowed upon us we share with others — until we all enjoy grace together forever. In the meantime, we keep sharing; we keep caring for one another. Not just because grace wroughts grace but because glory emanates glory.

I want my son to experience grace and to see glory. Being a pastor’s kid is no easy way. For Asher, there will be other times I am compelled to say, “No.” This make me sensitive to the needs of my child. I want to be accessible to him. I want him to know how much I love him. I want him to see how significant he is to me.

As often as I may, he will be with me. He will especially be with me in those certain passages of life we need to run together. One of those is the passage of life that learns death. My son and I will learn this together. We will go to the hospitals; we will go to the funerals. We will look at death’s loom together and be sobered.

It will strike us closely as we let our loved ones go past death’s curtain.

I sense that now as my 93 year old grandma is into a senior living residence. In the coming weeks our family will visit that place we call home, Mansfield Texas. My three children will likely visit great-grandma for the last time. Little Asher will not fully understand what is coming, and I suppose neither do I. We will learn death together.

And meanwhile, we will learn to run together. We will enjoy the breeze on our backs and the hot sun on our faces.